Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Play: Princess Diaries

Wishful Drinking Created and performed by Carrie Fisher, Directed by Tony Taccone, Seattle Repertory Theatre, though 3 May.

This is many things. One woman show. Therapy through writing. Nostalgia act. Theater as book tour. Possible prep for the leap to Broadway. Last-minute fill-in. That final one is because the Seattle Rep got a short, sharp shock to the schedule and had to scramble. And to be honest they did pretty well as a result (since the original option was Godot)

Carrie Fisher you know from being Princess Leia in Star Wars, back in what was my youth and for most of you was a bajillion years ago. Yes, she's older and wider now, but I'm not one to talk. Fisher, however, does talk - about her heritage as the daughter of Eddie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds, about he marriage to Paul Simon, about her addictions, about the dead guy in her bed four years ago (this is the opener). And about Star Wars.

Fisher paces the nicely-designed stage with a confident intensity and ranges out into the audience looking for victims. Oh yes, there is audience participation. Sort of like being in the front row of a Gallagher show, but with glitter instead of watermelon guts. You've been warned. She takes questions from the audience (about her dead guy). She picks up a few souls in the audience to commune with. She takes volunteers (and no, I'm not going to spoil it for you, but it's hilarious).

And she does not take herself too serious. For a woman my age, she sounds older, a creature of another age, a survivor with a knapsack full of nostalgia and gossip. Sometimes she sounds like my actress mom-in-law. Sometimes she sounds like Harlan Ellison. And she does a dead-on Debbie Reynolds impression.

She does use visual aids - no Mike-Daisey-lone-guy-at-a-table here. They range from the family tree of multiple parental marriages to backdrop slides to some comfortable chairs for here to perch in. Still trying to figure out the deeper significance of the garden gnome, though.

Its nice, its bright, and its a good afternoon spent. Its like spending the afternoon with the wild, creative aunt, once you're old enough to hear the REAL family stories. For me, coming from a Science Fiction Convention, it was sort of a perfect ending to Norwescon. Definitely worth catching if you're a Star Wars fan (and that's,what, about 90% of Seattle).

More later,